Dairy-Free Crispy Onion Strings

Dairy-free crispy onion strings are amazing just on their own, eaten by the handful, right out of the fryer. Serve them as an app with all your favorite dips, strewn atop classic green bean casserole, or as a truly inspired Hanukkah side dish.

Dairy-free crispy onion strings on a sheet of parchment, on a white plate, garnished with parsley.

Adapted from Ashley Hankins | Make It Vegan | Victory Belt Publishing, 2021

I love serving these as an appetizer. They’re like onion rings but better because they stay crispy for hours, and they’re way easier to make! Serve them alongside a classic aioli or BBQ ranch for the ultimate snacking experience.—Ashley Hankins

Dairy-Free Crispy Onion Strings FAQs

Do these onion strings work as leftovers?

Although best eaten straight out of the fryer, you can store the crispy onion strings in an airtight container for up to 2 days, so you can make enough for today and tomorrow! To reheat, bake at 350°F on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper until crispy, 10 to 12 minutes.

Can I use deep-frying oil more than once?

You can reuse the oil for one or two more batches of crispy onion strings. To do so, set the pan of oil aside and allow it to cool completely. Then, using a fine-mesh sieve, strain the cooled oil into a clean container. (I like to use a large wide-mouth mason jar.) Store the oil in a cool, dry area.

Dairy-Free Crispy Onion Strings

Dairy-free crispy onion strings on a sheet of parchment, on a white plate, garnished with parsley.
You can’t go wrong with a garnish of crispy onion strings. From salads to casseroles, these onion strings are always a winner. Pile them high anywhere you want a crispy garnish.

Prep 15 mins
Cook 15 mins
Total 1 hr
4 servings
262 kcal
5 from 1 vote
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  • 1 1/2 cups unflavored and unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 1 large (11 oz) white onion
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more if needed
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus more if needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 to 4 cups mild vegetable oil for frying, plus more if needed


  • In a large bowl, whisk together the milk and vinegar.
  • Using a mandoline or very sharp knife, slice the onion into very thin rounds. Separate the slices and place them in the bowl with the milk and vinegar. Press the onions down so they’re submerged and let them soak for 30 minutes.
  • In a large, shallow dish, whisk together the flour, paprika, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper until combined.
  • Pour enough oil into a deep saucepan or Dutch oven to reach 3 inches (8 cm) high and set over medium-high heat. You’ll know the oil is hot enough when you sprinkle a pinch of flour into it and it sizzles immediately.
  • Drain the onions in a colander, but do not rinse them. Put the onions in the flour mixture and toss until they’re fully coated.
  • Working in 2 or 3 batches, use tongs to remove the coated onions from the flour. Tap off any excess flour and gently drop the onions into the hot oil. Using a different pair of tongs or a wooden spoon, break the onions apart and fry them until they’re golden brown and crispy, about 5 minutes.
  • Remove the onion strings from the oil and place them on a paper towel-lined plate to dry. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Repeat with the remaining onions and serve immediately.
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Show Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 262kcal (13%)Carbohydrates: 47g (16%)Protein: 8g (16%)Fat: 2g (3%)Saturated Fat: 1g (6%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 632mg (27%)Potassium: 311mg (9%)Fiber: 3g (13%)Sugar: 6g (7%)Vitamin A: 650IU (13%)Vitamin C: 12mg (15%)Calcium: 159mg (16%)Iron: 3mg (17%)

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Recipe Testers’ Reviews

There is so much to love about these addictive little dairy-free crispy onion strings. They are delicious, indulgent, and oh-so-versatile lending themselves as a stand-alone appetizer, a fun side, or even a garnish.

The flour coating has just enough seasoning to make them interesting but not so much that they detract from whatever you might serve them with. The onion strings are also relatively low fuss in terms of steps and ingredients, as long as you feel undaunted by the prospect of deep-frying.

Though the flour mixture is quite nicely seasoned, the finished product still required a final shake of salt to let the flavors sing. I served mine as a topping for an autumnal kale salad with roasted squash and pomegranate seeds and it definitely helped to add a satisfyingly crunchy bite and a wow factor to an otherwise more mundane weeknight dinner.

We loved these dairy-free crispy onion strings and they made a fabulous topping for grilled striploin steak. They were easy to prepare and fried up quickly. If you weren’t concerned about avoiding dairy, you could easily swap in buttermilk for the milk and vinegar.

I cooked my crispy onion strings in three batches in a medium saucepan and only needed about 3 cups of oil. They were golden brown and crispy after 5 minutes.

Originally published November 26, 2021



    1. Brent, any non-dairy milk works here, such as soy or almond milk, and if avoiding dairy isn’t a concern for you, I’ve tried it with regular milk and buttermilk with great success.

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